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WASHINGTON – “Sacred heart of Jefferson Davis!” the Southern matriarch of the fictitious Burnside family exclaimed in the 1950s hit film, “Auntie Mame.” That line about the president of the Confederacy was sort of funny then, when Jim Crow was firmly in place in the Democratic Party and the statues of the generals of the traitorous Confederate States sat defiantl…

Can we get people to move here? That’s the big question as the Buffalo Niagara region’s job market finally is starting to heat up after decades of disappointment that sent a generation of young Western New Yorkers fleeing for better opportunities elsewhere. Things have changed for the better over the last few years. Young people are starting to stick around, and …

I was 12 the first time I saw "Gone With the Wind." I despised it then and I still do. My biggest problem with it, even as a pre-teen, was its contemptible and utterly nauseating portrayal of black people, particularly black womanhood. In the mid-'50s, when I saw it, I didn't care how many Oscars they gave Hattie McDaniel. (She accepted her award in what was otherwise a…

Sometimes there's a certain benefit in coming into a community from the outside. I'm a Western New Yorker by birth, but I haven't been around for the entire civic opera involving Carl Paladino, a guy I've never met. I wasn't here when he made the remarks last year that triggered the motion toward his state-ordered ouster Thursday from the Buffalo School Board, the momen…

When a 20-year-old man was shot to death July 29 in a dispute with his Carl Street neighbor, the mayor and police were quick to note that the victim had been in jail the night before. Their point: Why was he back on the streets the next day? As complaints about a courtroom "revolving door" escalate and police and judges trade barbs over the cause, the solution lies with t…

A serviceman born in Buffalo left more than 65 years ago to fight in the Korean War. He was an African-American corporal, sent to the front lines in an all-black Army unit. He was caught in an explosion, wounded by shrapnel. He came home to raise a son who was the center of his life, a son whose  passion in life remains education. The father died too young, in circumst…

The name of the film is "Logan Lucky." I don't know that a funny and hugely entertaining film could be more inappropriately named. Stephen Soderbergh's delightful new film opens in area theaters Thursday. (See the review in Thursday's Gusto.) It has been quite aptly described as a kind of redneck version of something in Soderbergh's "Oceans 11" franchise. In other words, i…

Have you heard that the three boutiques inside the Shops at HarborCenter will close at the end of September? A spokesman for Pegula Sports and Entertainment said last week the company is having “ongoing discussions” with potential tenants and hopes to soon unveil new retail offerings for the site. But by the end of September, the toy, gift and candy stores that have…

When Tim Haniszewski Jr. was growing up in Lancaster, he and his brother Tyler didn't worry about Little League baseball or Pop Warner football. Their passion was the demolition derby. The boys used to set up a make-believe fairgrounds in the bedroom they shared. They'd smash Matchbox cars to smithereens, just like they watched their father do with real cars on weekend …

WASHINGTON – North Korea is not Switzerland, or Belgium. Over the course of several generations, North Korea has become a hereditary, disciplined aggressor culture – meaning its people. It is led by an increasingly warlike leader, who has solidified his power by murdering his rivals, including his relatives, in cold blood. From 1950 onward, and even before, the r…

As the packing process continues leading up to the big college send-off, I notice how a few things have changed since preparing for my own freshman year. One of them: the options for making up a dorm bed. As I recall, I brought along a mattress pad, two sets of sheets, two pillows, a blanket and a comforter for the twin bed in my dorm room. Sure, everything was co…

I've got a few things to say to some people. So here are open letters to them all: ... To Anthony Scaramucci, Monday's Guest on Stephen Colbert's "Late Night...": Dear Mooch: (Why have a nickname that good if people can't use it?) Undoubtedly, you've heard from Trumpsters (if not himself ), alt-righters and Breitbartians galore ever since Colbert erupted with t…

As I write this article, it’s simply too soon to try to predict cloud cover for eclipse viewing on Aug. 21. Yes, there are models that go out that far in time, but forecast skill for cloud cover in this time range, with or without models, is virtually nil for much of the country, including our region. So, I’ll stick to what effects the eclipse may produce, based on …

The cases read like a point by point description of what is wrong with the criminal justice system: • The 16-year-old had five separate armed robberies on his record, but instead of being in jail, he got another gun and killed a cab driver during one more armed robbery in 2013. • The 25-year-old was charged in one shooting when he saw the woman he thought had fingere…

How can a planet with virtually no air have fascinating weather? Bear with me, and we shall see. Back in the early 1980s when I was working in Detroit, I spent some time with University of Michigan scholar and planetary scientist Thomas Donahue, going through some basics about meteorology on the other planets in our solar system. I recall his touching upon Mercury as be…